• Grace Costa, Miranda Millen, Nigel Drought, Ferne Millen and Neville Millen

    Grace Costa, Miranda Millen, Nigel Drought, Ferne Millen and Neville Millen

  • Judges senior curator Christopher Chapman and photographer Nikki Toole

    Judges senior curator Christopher Chapman and photographer Nikki Toole

  • The winning photograph of Ali an Iranian boy on the road from Soobatan,his village above the clouds on a mountain range in Northern Iran.

    The winning photograph of Ali an Iranian boy on the road from Soobatan,his village above the clouds on a mountain range in Northern Iran.

  • Julie Moss, Abduzar Vakili and Hoda Adshar and Jim Davidson

    Julie Moss, Abduzar Vakili and Hoda Adshar and Jim Davidson

  • Julie Moss, Hoda Adshar and Jim Davidson

    Julie Moss, Hoda Adshar and Jim Davidson

  • Julie Moss and Jim Davidson

    Julie Moss and Jim Davidson

  • Abouzar Vakili huigs his wife Hoda Afshar the 2015 National Photographic Portrait Prize winner.

    Abouzar Vakili huigs his wife Hoda Afshar the 2015 National Photographic Portrait Prize winner.

  • Margaret Pomeranz, Jane Smyth and Jenny Ransley

    Margaret Pomeranz, Jane Smyth and Jenny Ransley

  • Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton

    Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton

  • Jenny Kich and Fiona Thomas

    Jenny Kich and Fiona Thomas

  • NPG Director Angus Trumble and Chair Helen Nugent

    NPG Director Angus Trumble and Chair Helen Nugent

  • Gabrielle Hyslop, Susie Craig, David Stratton and Geffrey Borney

    Gabrielle Hyslop, Susie Craig, David Stratton and Geffrey Borney

  • Jude Sculthorpe and Bronwyn Sydney-Smith

    Jude Sculthorpe and Bronwyn Sydney-Smith

  • MaryAnn Vanzwan, Lindi Vanzwan and Armi Grono

    MaryAnn Vanzwan, Lindi Vanzwan and Armi Grono

  • Natalie Grono and her dad Tom Grono

    Natalie Grono and her dad Tom Grono

  • Meng and Fiona Ngai

    Meng and Fiona Ngai

  • Robert Bleeker and Virginia McLeod

    Robert Bleeker and Virginia McLeod

  • Diane Joseph and Allan White

    Diane Joseph and Allan White

  • Amanda Joe and Douglas Gibson

    Amanda Joe and Douglas Gibson

  • Kioni and Lalita Hack beneath their mother's photgraph of a pensive Lalita.

    Kioni and Lalita Hack beneath their mother's photgraph of a pensive Lalita.

National Photgraphic Portrait Prize 2015

20 March 2015

The National Photographic Portrait Prize is an annual award for what is judged to be the best of the entries in any given year for this National Portrait Gallery initiative. Entries have grown exponentially over the years – 2,500 entries and 44 finalists in 2015 -  as this prestigious award has a very nice $25,000 cheque for the winner and as it’s open to all comers, the winners are often from unexpected areas. Thankfully not won by a ‘selfie’ yet, and please never!
 

This year a young boy from a village in the mountains of Iran happened to be walking along a road, emerging out of the mist from the clouds that permanently cover the mountains to stop, engage and be photographed by Iranian born photographer Hoda Afshar. As the winning photograph Ali is now forever immortalised in a digital print on the walls of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, a place he probably has no concept of, nor expectation of ever visiting and that’s what makes this highly atmospheric and emotionless photograph so special. So much can be assumed from the photograph, I just hope one day he understands what has occurred in that moment in time.

Thankfully 2015 is devoid of the “crepuscular” photographs that were predominant last year. That fact announced by the sartorial splendid Director Angus Trumble and quietly endorsed by many. I would have said sad and miserable but as misery begets misery we’ve got enough of that without making it a prerequisite for this competition. And being a competition we who snap away for a living are want to criticize the choices, wonder the why of some entries and found  favourites among the extensive range of finalists. 

For me the photograph by Natalie Grono of Feather a local Byron Bay identity known for her “youthful and vibrant character” is a splendid photograph that will evoke judgment and comment of a lady unlikely to miss a moment of enjoying her life on her own terms. And a reminder of the fleeting moments you can miss with Ketaki Jewson-Brown’s daughter Lalita in a one frame moment caught in the midst of a lot of goofing around. Moments in time; some contrived, some just lucky and many reflections of emotions, patience and a practiced eye.

Take time to enjoy this exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.